Back to Back Theatre creates new forms of contemporary performance created by artists with disabilities, giving voice to social and political issues which speak to all people.
Based in the Victorian regional centre of Geelong, Back to Back Theatre is widely recognised as an Australian theatre company of national and international significance. The company is driven by an ensemble of actors who are perceived to have intellectual disabilities and is considered one of Australia’s most important cultural exporters.
We contend our operation as a theatre company is beyond expectation of possibility: an affirmation for human potential. Our record of success, or even existence, could not have been dreamt of in the recent past. The company’s existence contributes to the richness and diversity of Australian life and palpably projects Geelong, Victoria and Australia to the world as innovative, sophisticated and dynamic.
From 2005 to present, the company has undertaken 44 national and 68 international seasons of its work. This includes presentations at the world’s pre-eminent contemporary arts festivals and venues such as the Edinburgh International Festival, London’s V&A Museum and the Barbican, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Public Theater in New York, Festival Tokyo and the Seoul and Singapore Performing Arts Festivals. A decade on from its 2005 premiere at Melbourne Festival, our major work, small metal objects, celebrated its 10th year in repertoire at the 2015 Vienna Festival.
From 2005 to present, community workshops have been delivered to 18,402 recipients, with a focus on artistic excellence for individuals with disabilities in regional communities.
Back to Back Theatre has received 15 national and international awards including in recent years a Helpmann Award for Best Australian Work, an Edinburgh International Festival Herald Angel Critics’ Award, two Age Critics’ Awards, a New York Bessie and the Myer Foundation Group Award for our long-standing contribution to the development of Australian theatre. In 2015, Artistic Director Bruce Gladwin received the Australia Council for the Arts’ Inaugural Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre.
In 2012 and again in 2014 our show Ganesh Versus the Third Reich was named in the Top 10 Theatre Experiences by The Guardian UK. In another article in The Guardian UK in 2014 titled “Where is the UK’s answer to Back to Back?” critic Lyn Gardner wrote “Anyone who has seen the work of the Australian company Back to Back will know that they don’t just produce superb disability-led theatre, they produce superb theatre in every way.”